Hwayoon Lee was born in Seoul in 1996. She had her first encounter with music as the age of three, when she was given lessons in “Pansori”, traditional Korean vocal and percussional music. She had her first violin lessons at the age of six but discovered the viola three years later. She has since been given viola tuition by Professor Sang Jin Kim at Yonsei University. Since 2014, violist Hwayoon Lee studies with the violist Nobuko Imai as one of the ’Young soloists’ of the Kronberg academy in Germany.
At the early age of 4, she had her own radio program with her teacher named ‘With Junghae and Hwayoon’ at the KBS (Korean Broadcasting System). And in November 2014, she appeared on the ARTE TV Program ‘Stars von Morgen (Les Stars de Demain)’ presented by the world famous tenor Rolando Villazón.
In 2010 she took part in her first international competition, the 17th International Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach (Austria), and carried off the first prize. That was followed by an invitation to perform at Musica in Collina in Lapedona (Italy). In January 2013 Hwayoon Lee sensationally won as youngest participant the Grand Prix in the 7th International Yuri Bashmet Viola Competition in Moscow which was donated for the first time in the competition´s history and is ranked above the 1st prize. That same year she also won the Elba Festival Prize at the Festival Elba, Isola Musicale d’Europa. In 2014, Hwayoon Lee has been announced as the winner of the ‘Unpa Prize 2014’ in Korea. This prize is given to a rising innovative musician.
Hwayoon Lee has thrilled other international audiences at the Wolfegg Festival, Moritzburg Festival, Kronberg Academy Festival in Germany and the Chelsea Music Festival in New York. At the ‘Chamber Music Connects the World 2012’ in Germany, Hwayoon Lee played chamber music with world-famous musicians such as Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Yuri Bashmet, Steven Isserlis and András Schiff.
The Goethe Institute in Korea has invited the young Korean violist to give recitals on several occasions and announced her as a ‘Future Partner’ prize winner as well. She has given concert performances with various European orchestras, such as the Moscow Soloists, the Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, the Munich Symphony, the Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra, Iuventus Orchestra as well as Bamberger Symphoniker, and has worked with conductors such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Ken-David Masur, Yuri Bashmet and Manfred Honeck.
In 2013, Hwayoon has been selected to be supported continuously by the project ‘AYAF’ of the Korean Ministry of Culture. The youngest scholarship holder to date, Hwayoon Lee has had the support of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation since July 2011.
In June 2014, Hwayoon Lee performed W.A.Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the world famous violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Bamberger Symphoniker under conductor Manfred Honeck.